The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

FY21 Budget

Every year PASS posts our fiscal year (FY) budget to provide transparency into our finances. It’s a wealth of information so we include a summary, and FAQ docs to help our members understand the information.

This year, with the impact of COVID-19, there are more challenges, and questions, than ever before. Creating the budget was well under way when the realities of COVID-19 hit PASS, so as I wrote in June, we regrouped, re-planned, and built a new FY budget for the organization. By taking that time to step back and build a new FY budget and approve it months later than we typically would, it allowed us to reforecast revenue for a virtual conference vs an in-person conference. Budgeting was an incredibly difficult exercise this year as we have never been faced with a virtual conference taking the place of our in-person, primary fundraising event. The budget is the result of forecasting done in June and July, based on the information available when the budget was developed. Like any budget, we set it at the start of the fiscal year, and measure against it going forward.

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PASS Financials Update

We are currently in the midst of what we consider the PASS budget season for our Fiscal Year (FY), running from July 1 to June 30. This is typically the time of year where we are deep into reviewing and adjusting the extensive PASS budget in anticipation of voting on the budget in June. This year, however, is an unprecedented time for us with the uncertainty surrounding PASS Summit, which accounts for 94% of PASS’ revenue. As we’ve discussed over the last few months we have been looking at ways to diversify that revenue, but the reality is that for FY 2021, PASS Summit will be the primary source of income for our community. COVID-19 has had a significant impact. Registrations have slowed to a trickle at a time when we would expect to see our biggest numbers. We are facing an unprecedented situation where we are having to re-evaluate our path forward and the timeline.

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PASS Summit Cancellation/Refund Policy Explained

As we navigate through new territory in planning for PASS Summit, we realize that this uncertainty will naturally result in new questions from our community. Transparency is key at all times, and we have been working to get the information we need to answer all of your questions as they arise.

One of the questions we have been asked most recently relates to the PASS Summit refund policy. Wendy announced earlier this month that if we are unable to move forward with an in-person event as planned, we would be ready to switch to an alternative virtual conference. We know there are still a lot of important unanswered questions—including the pricing structure, format, and timing of the virtual event—and we hope to be in a position to provide all of these answers asap and no later than June.

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PASS Summit 2020 Location Announcement

When I announced that PASS Summit 2019 was staying in Seattle last year, I also shared that the conference location is decided years in advance, the result of a complex evaluation process. This process involves considering many different factors impacting our event, including attendee feedback, budget, accessibility, and scale.

When planning started for PASS Summit 2020, we recognized that attendee numbers and the scale of our conference was increasing. This raised concerns that based on the current layout of the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), these facilities may no longer be suitable for our conference in 2020.

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PASS Summit Breakfast Options

As a not-for-profit organization, maintaining a balanced budget and providing our members with an outstanding conference experience each year is no easy feat. One of the biggest challenges we have encountered over the years is our ability to provide a suitable breakfast option while increasing the quality of educational content and networking opportunities we offer at PASS Summit.

Returning attendees will have noticed significant changes to our breakfast offerings over the past couple of years. These changes were carefully considered and based on post-event feedback from attendees, however, it’s clear that our community was not happy with the shift from a hot breakfast to a pastry and coffee option. We heard you loud and clear.

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